I have been back in the United States for about a month and a half, now, and I still miss London pretty much every day. The public transportation, the city life, and the friends I made are all dear to me and though I wish that I could go back, I could not be happier to have spent five months in the best city on Earth. I recently received my final marks from courses, which seemed to mark a good time to finish off my blogging for Queen Mary with some closing remarks on coursework expectations and course selection.
As a Chemical Engineering major, finding courses that were accepted at my home university was fine. I was able to identify three, but only one was offered in the spring semester. Sadly that module conflicted with every other module I had signed up for, and I had to drop it. So there I was, an engineering major taking three history classes and a business class — Corporate Law and Governance. I remember very well being told during the study-abroad orientation that no student should take a level six (senior in US terms) course outside of their major. I ignored those instructions and took Corporate Law because I spoke to a representative of the Business school as well as the professor, and they both said that as there was no pre-requisite knowledge, all it would take was diligence. I am glad that I took their advice, for the class added some much desired diversity in my course-load. However, I would suggest that regardless of the course level (4, 5, or 6), future study abroad students contact the department or the professor to determine what pre-requisite knowledge is required or expected, and determine whether the syllabus really matches up with what they want to learn during their time in London.
As for grades, this was my hardest semester in University, as I was unused to the requirements of liberal arts courses. I ended the semester with three upper level second honors (high B/ low A) in the history courses, and a first class honors in Corporate Law and Governance. Overall, I was a tad disappointed with my performance, but I understand that the curriculum in most UK universities is very demanding and I was taking upper level courses in disciplines which I am unused to. The fact that I was able to excel in Corporate Law, though, goes to show that a level 6 course — even outside of one’s major — can be perfectly feasible provided you have the interest and the dedication.
I wish anyone reading this the best of luck choosing their modules, and encourage you to go out and enjoy London to its fullest! So far, University has been an undeniably enjoyable experience for me, and studying abroad has been its highlight.
-S. Quinlan Arlington